On February 19 and 20, Matt and Lauren Chandler are hosting The Mingling of Souls Marriage Conference to talk about God’s good design for love, marriage, sex, and redemption.
Then when you follow the Mingling of Souls Marriage Conference Faithlife Group, you’ll get free access to Matt Chandler’s ebook, The Mingling of Souls, from January 15 through February 15.
When your copy of the ebook is unlocked, you’ll be able to follow along with Matt and Lauren as they lead a book study, so you can ask questions about marriage and intimacy as you read.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from The Mingling of Souls. Throughout the ebook Matt Chandler takes a look at The Song of Solomon and unpacks it’s candid—and timeless—insights on romance, dating, marriage, and sex. He applies it through practical, real-life examples helping the reader to connect with the text.
Still Staying—I’m Not Going Anywhere
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” (Song of Solomon 8: 6–7)
For the record, the word for “love” in this passage is that word ahava. It’s the clinging love, the “I’m not going anywhere” love.
Ahava is as strong as death. Its flashes are fiery, sourced in the consuming fire that is God. All the oceans covering the earth cannot drown ahava. It is worth more than all the treasures of the world.
If we’re going to be faithful to the end, we will often have to lean into the covenant that we made with our spouse and with the Lord. We will need to access again and again, by God’s grace, this devoted ahava, which says, “It’s not an option for me to go anywhere because Jesus would not abandon his bride.”
I have been physically fit my entire life. I am tall and lean and have always been strong for a man as lean as I am. I have been told I have a powerful presence. I like to have fun, I like to goof around, and I have been blessed with what seems to be a boundless amount of energy. These were things that attracted Lauren to me. She often described me as our family’s “recreation coordinator.”
But then I got sick.
And all of that strength and vitality, in a matter of months, simply vanished. The ability to be playful, the ability to be creative, the ability to goof off were gone. Not only that, but my ability to really take care of myself, to do fairly simple tasks, vanished. I couldn’t even take a shower by myself, and the kind of accompaniment I needed there was not sexy, all right?
I lost the ability to even stand.
I lost so much of my ability to, in a way, be myself. There was no way I could romance my wife. My desire for sexual intimacy was gone. For a while I began to wonder what the brain surgeries had done to me. I wondered if, should I ever get over this cancer stuff, I would always be unable to do some of the things I enjoyed so much. Maybe I was going to be broken this way for a long time.
Lauren saw me at my worst. I wasn’t in that kind of depressive “I hate everyone” mentality, but I was at my worst in terms of being very weak, unattractive, unstable, unable to get myself to the toilet so I could vomit and lie on the cool tile of the floor. I was a mess. And in those moments, I praised God for ahava love. As I look back, I still praise God for ahava love.
I praise God that this flighty kind of Cupidian, Valentine-y, emotive love isn’t what we’re hoping will hold us all together! Praise God that the love we trust to keep us from falling apart is ahava. Praise God that as miserable and messy as I was, my wife was a regular reminder of God’s grace to me. (Click to tweet) She didn’t turn and run. She stayed with me, helping me, loving me, and carrying me. Lauren demonstrated her love toward me in this: that she lived into an ahava love even when I could not reciprocate.
To read more follow the Mingling of Souls Marriage Conference Faithlife Group and you’ll get free access to The Mingling of Souls from January 15 through February 15!